SCPA extends deadline to register for Annual Meeting
Yesterday was the deadline to register for the Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, but if you missed it, you can still reserve your spot.
We will take registrations through this Friday, March 15, at 5 p.m. You MUST register in advance to attend the meeting. At time of press, more than 300 of your peers have already signed on to attend. Here's how to register.
Because we have to give the hotel final numbers for food, we will not be able to accommodate new registrations next week.
Speaking of food, if you are a vegetarian or have a special dietary need or allergy, we need to know as soon as possible. We asked the newspapers to let us know when registering you, but if you're not certain that your newspaper let us know, please email Jen Madden directly and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs. We must know about all special food needs by Monday, March 18 at the latest.
The meeting will be held at The Westin Poinsett Hotel in the heart of downtown Greenville. While The Westin is sold out of rooms, there are a few other options nearby.
This meeting promises to be a good one
-- kicking off with an Opening Reception Friday night in the Westin's historic Spoonbread Restaurant. We've got a packed line up of educational sessions all day Saturday. In addition to the training events, we hope you'll take some time to peruse the winners' exhibit and mingle with your peers and SCPA staff members.
We'll also be debuting a project at the Annual Meeting that we think you'll really enjoy. "An Oral History of South Carolina Newspapers:
Remembering Eye-Witnesses to History" will be an ongoing project that will preserve the heritage of the Fourth Estate through a multimedia Web project that
includes video interviews, photo galleries and more.
We've been working on the project for the past six months, and have taped some very interesting interviews.
This project is co-sponsored by The Humanities CouncilSC and
the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Annual Meeting attendees will be the first to travel back in time with some of the Palmetto State's leading newspaper journalists of the past century.
And we know what you enjoy most about the meeting -- the more than 800 awards that we'll honor you with during the Weekly and Associate Member Awards Luncheon and Daily Awards Dinner. Winners are the cream of the
crop -- chosen from nearly 4,000 entries in the 2012 competition. It's fun to honor you for your hard work, so please sign up to attend the meeting and accept your awards.
If you can squeeze it in, we hope you'll stroll down Greenville's Main Street and check out the many shops, galleries, restaurants and bars that are located within walking distance of the hotel. Don't know anything about Greenville? Don't worry... we'll have a guide of places we think you'll want to check out!
Sunshine Week ends March 16... you still have time to promote open government
Many S.C. newspapers are taking part in Sunshine Week, which runs through this Saturday, March 16.
The Index-Journal of Greenwood has taken a neat approach by creating a Facebook page with Sunshine Week stories, polls, editorials and more.
Many papers have been running Op-eds by SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers and FOI Chair Trisha O'Connor.
We also encourage you to write your own editorials and stories highlighting the importance of open government in your community. Please let us know what your paper is doing or has already done to promote Sunshine Week.
If you haven't yet taken the time to promote the importance of open government and freedom of information, you still have a few days left.
Click here to download logos, house ads, Op-eds and the cartoon located above.
S.C. archivist: Legislative ‘sunshine’ could cost $1 million
By Jamie Self, The State
A little-known law that governs how public records are managed could pose an almost $1 million roadblock to proposed changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act, reforms designed to ensure government transparency.
Debate is centered on a prediction that it will cost nearly $1 million to store state legislators’ records if lawmakers vote to open their papers to public scrutiny. However, skeptics think that cost has emerged as a factor in the open-records debate because some legislators do not want their records opened to the public.
Later this month, the state House will take up a bill aimed at revising the state’s weak Freedom of Information Act. The revisions are intended to curb long waits and excessive fees charged those who seek public records.
The proposal, sponsored by state Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, was advancing swiftly before lawmakers narrowly voted to eliminate an exemption that would have allowed legislators to keep their papers and correspondence out of the public eye. Giving up that exemption – and the secrecy it affords – is unpopular with some legislators.
Now, debate is swirling over whether eliminating the exemption would have unintended consequences.
S.C. Department of Archives and History director Eric Emerson, whose agency stores many public records, says his department could incur added costs of almost $1 million to store the legislative records.
Emerson’s cost estimate has been greeted with skepticism.
“Are these the real costs?” asked state Rep. Weston Newton, R-Beaufort. “Or is this just a doomsday scenario?”
Newton and Taylor have introduced a separate bill that would retain a limited legislative exemption to the state’s “sunshine” law, shielding from disclosure legislation that has not yet been introduced. They also want to create a new exemption for emails sent to lawmakers from constituents, arguing that citizens have an expectation of privacy.
Emerson’s cost estimate is based on his prediction that storing legislative records would force his agency to manage 2 1/2 times the number of public records that it now manages. Storing the public records of 170 General Assembly members would cost his agency $940,000, Emerson says, to pay for five new employees, upgrades to security, archival supplies and storage equipment.
“It could cost $1 million” to deal with the records, said Jay Bender, a media law attorney who sometimes represents The State.
However, Bender questions that estimate. It seems unlikely the Archives Department would be swamped with records from legislators, Bender said, adding debate about the cost of preserving legislative records for history should be separate from ensuring that the public has access to what lawmakers are doing now.
“I don’t see a rush to send records to Archives,” Bender said. “It would be a nice thing because preservation of public records is the footprint” for researching government later.
“The question here is whether we’re going to have open government in South Carolina (now), rather than whether we’re going to have an historical record.”
New applicant for membership to be reviewed March 22
Former reporter and editor Aida Rogers has applied for individual membership in the Press Association.
Another newspaper member has changed its name. The Voice of Fairfield County, a weekly free distribution paper, has changed its name to The Independent Voice of Blythewood and Fairfield County and expanded its distribution area.
The publisher is Barbara Ball and James Denton serves as the paper's editor.
The SCPA Executive Committee will meet on March 22 to review membership applications.
Comments should be addressed to SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers.
Former Post and Courier journalist writes new book
Ken Burger's newest novel, Salkehatchie Soup, doesn't disappoint.
As in his previous tales (Swallow Savannah and Sister Santee), the cast of characters includes the powerful and the pitiful, both working through the options life presents them.
In his usual no-holds-barred style, Burger's tale of the Adger family continues from cushy golf resorts to a one-hole golf course in the middle of nowhere. Along the way, even small, seemingly private lives are caught up in the politics, crime, and intrigue of Washington, Manhattan, and Miami.
In Burger's mangy imagination, political bargains made in the cloakrooms of Congress impact both those who have fallen from grace and those who urgently seek it.
With Salkehatchie Soup, Burger returns to his birthplace to expose the remains of 50 years of nuclear waste buried in our beautiful state.
Burger has spent almost 40 years writing for two S.C. newspapers, a career that included stints covering sports, business, politics and life in the Palmetto State.
While writing sports for The Post and Courier, Burger won numerous statewide writing awards and was named one of the nation's best sports columnists three times. He also was named S.C. Journalist of the Year in 1996.
Municipal Association offers guide for covering local government
Report: Sports fans like print newspapers
The Municipal Association of S.C. is the “one stop shop” for any information or background on municipal government in South Carolina. Among it's many resources is a guide, "Ten Things Reporters Should Know About the City They Cover." Here are the first three points. Click the link above to read the rest.
1 – Understand the municipality's form of government and the powers/authority assigned to elected officials and staff. There are three forms of municipal government in South Carolina, and each grants different powers/authority to the mayor, council and staff. These differences are very important to understanding the context of how a council works.
2 – Understand the budget process. Read past budgets and audits – know how to get these documents from the city staff or website. A local government budget is quite different from the state or federal budget or a budget of a private company. Read up on various revenue sources for cities and towns. Most rely heavily on property tax and business license revenue.
3 – Get to know the city leadership – both elected and staff. Understand how to work through the chain of command to get the information you need. Local officials often don't have past experience dealing with reporters except in contentious situations. Make an effort to get to know the officials you cover so you can develop a mutual level of respect and trust, even if you end up in a combative situation.
How newsrooms can adopt a mobile-first mindset
By Jessica Weiss, MediaShift
First, it was the Web. Now, mobile is the "second tidal wave of change about to collide with the news industry," said Cory Bergman, general manager of Breaking News, a mobile-first startup owned by NBC News Digital.
As more consumers access news on their mobile devices, news organizations are seeing traffic to their websites from desktop computers flatten or decline. And in some regions, such as many parts of Africa, users are leapfrogging the Web altogether and going straight to mobile.
Although many newsroom leaders believe a "mobile, too" approach -- a focus on mobile in addition to other platforms -- will be enough, that mentality is shortsighted, Bergman said in a recent Poynter Online chat.
Joining Bergman to discuss the news industry's transition to mobile were Poynter's Regina McCombs and Damon Kiesow, senior product manager for mobile at the Boston Globe and Boston.com.
The chat included several helpful tips for newsrooms making the transition to mobile:
More male sports fans chose local print newspapers than TV, radio, or other print outlets when asked to list all the sources from which they get their “news, information and/or analysis,” according to a new study from the Newspaper National Network. That question doesn’t include online properties, which it compares separately. The report says that among those, print newspapers’ sites came out on top: “Sports Section of Newspaper Website” was the choice of 76 percent of respondents; 66 percent listed ESPN.com.
Who has rights to fan-generated video?
By Diana Marszalek,
After NASCAR recently attempted to block videos of a crash before the Daytona 500 shot by spectators in the stands, questions were raised once again of whether news organizations risk legal problems when airing user-generated video.